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“Great for Kids of All Ages”

The Franklin Institute
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Philadelphia CityPASS
Ranked #17 of 443 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Founded in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of America’s oldest and premier centers of science education. The museum is known for blockbuster exhibits, a bevy of interactive ongoing exhibitions, and one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences. Today, the Institute continues its dedication to public education and creating a passion for science by offering new and exciting access to science and technology in ways that would dazzle and delight its namesake.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Level Contributor
36 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great for Kids of All Ages”
Reviewed 18 November 2013

My family and I stop here every year or so to visit this wonderful museum. It has some wonderful exhibits for all ages. My youngest and my eldest both loved the Energy Section and its amazing how much the retained from the exhibits.

One downside, some of the exhibits seemed to need to be reset or out of order later in the day. I wished that they would have someone come around to handle this issue. It was disappointing to my youngest one that he could not take part in some of the activities, because they were not working properly.

Visited November 2013
Thank jgrotejr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Piscataway, New Jersey
Level Contributor
167 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Terrific Time”
Reviewed 15 November 2013

We spent about 5 hours at the Franklin Institute and even then felt a little rushed at the end so we’ll go back another time – you can truly spend a whole day at this beautiful, well-run facility with friendly staff. We had a Kid’s Book coupon which helped since entry can be a little pricey particularly if you add in the IMAX and 3D movies as we did, though it’s actually a good value considering how much time you can spend there and it’s absolutely perfect for children, can’t stress that enough. My daughter had so much fun with all of the hands on exhibits including the Big Heart, the planes, the space models. It’s also fun for the adults who can try everything out as well. Even during the NJ school vacation week in November, it wasn’t terribly crowded which was a nice way to experience the facility and the main atrium has an airy, comfortable area where you can take a break and have a snack or drink. The Pompeii exhibit started right after we left so we were thinking we need to go back sooner rather than later. All in all, a very positive experience!

Visited November 2013
Thank MaryMcG_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oak Ridge, New Jersey
Level Contributor
942 reviews
427 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 731 helpful votes
“Unusual and not just for kids.”
Reviewed 12 November 2013

We didn't find this place to be overly pricey. Nor did we find it so kid-oriented that adults couldn't enjoy it - You just need to loosen up a little and accept that kids have, and should have, priority in an educational environment. Also, I hardly think that the Pompeii exhibit, the IMAX films or the National Geographic 50 Best Photos were really kid-oriented at all. Is this one of the great museums of the world? No. Is it a pretty good hands-on learning experience for young and old? Yes. Some exhibits are clearly for kids, but they are pretty obvious (e.g. "Kid Science"). If you think you're too old for this place, you probably need to grow up!

Visited November 2013
1 Thank HowlnBubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lexington, Virginia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Terrific for kids and their grown ups!”
Reviewed 10 November 2013

We attended with a seven-year-old and a two-year-old, and a great time was had by all. We showed up right as they opened, which turned out to be a good idea, since within an hour it was mobbed. The kids' favorites were the walk-through heart, the exhibit on motion/energy, and the exhibit on airplanes. There were plenty of activities to keep both kids occupied for a half day. Be careful in the electricity area if you have a little one (or a sensitive big one) - one of the exhibits is extremely loud and scared our two-year-old. Also, the food options are not great. But we left with both kids wanting to return again, which doesn't happen often with museums.

Visited October 2013
Thank MuseoffireAD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fulshear, Texas
Level Contributor
28 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Pompeii exhibit - not to be missed!”
Reviewed 10 November 2013

I visited the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia 11/08/2013 where the Pompeii exhibit opened on this day. I had seen this exhibit while in high school years ago when it was in Dallas, Texas, and I found that several more artifacts have been added to the exhibit. The tour is self-guided, you can either read the information boards at each artifact, or rent an audio headset for $6. The self-guided tour takes about 1-2 hours, depending on how quickly or slowly you want to view each artifact. You can spend as long as you like.

The exhibit starts out with the advanced technology of the Romans during that period. You walk into different "rooms," as if walking into one of the homes or into the Market Square. There are TVs that display short animations of what it was like to live in that area. It then leads up to the critical day when Mount Vesuvius erupted. The last room contains casts of some of the individuals that died at the site (the excavators were smart when they discovered that the remains of the bodies left an opening in the volcanic ash, and they poured casting material into the ash to recreate the actually body positions of the killed individuals). I was a little disappointed that the "table scene" which contains a family eating around a table was not in the exhibit, most likely because it is more fragile than the other casts. When Mount Vesuvius erupted, the heat and poisonous gases that were released left some of the remains frozen in time, as rigor mortis occurred immediately to some of the bodies that made them appear as if they were still eating dinner. This is all explained in the exhibit.

The Pompeii exhibit tickets will allow you to choose a particular start time. This is to ensure that crowd-control is maintained to avoid an influx of people entering the exhibit at once. I highly recommend seeing the Pompeii exhibit.

An added bonus at the Franklin Institute was getting to see two different Planetarium shows, To Space and Back, and Our Evening Sky. The highlight of the day was when I experienced the giant Tesla coil that went off while I was standing right underneath it (occurs on the hour). The train exhibit was also very interesting, especially learning about the history of the railroads.

The Franklin Institute is located on N. 20th between Winter and Race Streets. The tickets (including Pompeii) were ~$30 each, underground parking is available for a fee.

Visited November 2013
10 Thank Just4You7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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